Holistic medicine: getting to the root of the issue

16686351 - mango treePicture, if you will, a beautiful tree stretching into the sky. Imagine that this tree is several stories high with branches and limbs shooting out in every direction. Green leaves spread out everywhere you look, and in the spring, new buds are visible as you walk beneath it.

Yes, this tree is lovely, it’s true—but its branches and leaves represent something more sobering. As you look closely at each branch, you discover it represents an area of your health that poses challenges. Perhaps you have anxiety or postpartum depression. Or maybe you are experiencing heart disease, thyroid issues—even cancer. The fact is, this tree represents each one of us. No one has a perfect medical record, and many of us are living daily with conditions that can be debilitating.

Now imagine digging beneath the soil under the tree and into the vast system of roots below. Here are the many triggers of the conditions you saw above in the leaves and branches. Factors affecting your health can include poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and exercise, genetics, trauma and quite a bit more. It quickly becomes clear that while each of these can play a role, many of them crisscross one another below ground, revealing how interconnected our body’s systems and experiences can become.

This contrast between the symptoms above-ground and the causes below-ground accurately reflects the value of functional medicine. Rather than looking only at the branches and leaves and treating them — a typical practice among many in medicine—practitioners of functional medicine seek to understand the roots first. If we can truly learn to identify and manage the root causes of any of these health issues, we can begin to help people heal faster.

If you’d like to know more about how functional medicine can benefit you and your family, http://proactivewellness.com with us today. We’re here to help.

Five rules for achieving optimal health

young   woman woke up in the morning in the bedroom by the window with her backNo other time in history have we experienced widespread prosperity like we do today, especially in the Western World. Global famine seems to be a thing of the past. What’s more, our understanding of medicine has developed to a point where several devastating diseases have been defeated. Little wonder the average lifespan has increased over the years.

But with all these updates, we seem to be combating many new challenges that pose unique threats to our well-being. Over-eating has led to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Our fast-paced lives have led to the proliferation of junk food and increased levels of stress.

In this post, we’re going to take a step back to explore five simple rules you need to remember to achieve optimal health and well-being.

Rule 1: Do Not Put Toxins Into Your Body

That’s right! Many of the things we take into our bodies are outright bad! Common examples include alcohol, hard drugs, and cigarettes.

While taking alcohol in moderation may be alright (if your body can tolerate it), it is very easy to become addicted. When that happens, you need ever-increasing bottles to sustain the pleasure you derive.

Excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other problems like liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer.

Smoking damages almost every organ in the body, negatively impacting the health of your brain, heart, and immune system. Do you know that smoking is the leading preventable cause of early disease and death in the United States? That’s how bad smoking is!

Drug abuse is also a rising problem in the US. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and meth are some of the most commonly abused drugs. Even normal prescription and over-the-counter drugs like pain relievers, depressants, and stimulants can also be abused.

These substances are highly addictive. So if you get started, it becomes worse and very difficult to break. That’s why it’s best not to even get started on them!

Rule 2: Eat Healthy Foods

We are in the age of fast food, and we take in lots of junk! While they may be tasty, they have long-term negative impacts. For starters, most breakfast cereals, pizzas, mayonnaise, french fries, hot dogs, and sugary drinks are unhealthy. Eating junk food regularly can lead to an increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Therefore, minimize their intake if you cannot curb them entirely from your diet.

On the other hand, a healthy diet will help you achieve optimal nutrition and well-being.

Just like your “mama” told you, make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables provide essential minerals, and other nutrients, such as fiber and antioxidants.

Foods on lean protein sources like chicken breasts, tofu, eggs, and fish are good for you. Similarly, ensure that more than half of the grains you eat are whole grains. Because whole grains are not severely refined, they still retain many of their nutrients.

When it comes to eating healthy, most people know what’s good and what’s bad. That’s why it’s important to develop the discipline to always choose what’s good for your health!

Rule 3: Exercise Regularly

I know you’ve heard this a million times. But it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning repeatedly. There is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life.

People who exercise regularly are at a lower risk of developing many long-term conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Exercise also helps your body, brain and hormones function optimally day in, day out. What’s more, exercise is a great way to increase your body’s metabolism, reduce excess fat, and lose weight.

The great thing about exercise is you do not need to lift heavy weight or “live in the gym” to benefit from it.

Simple aerobic training exercises like walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, rowing, and biking improves cardiovascular conditioning, controls blood sugar levels, improves lung function, lowers blood pressure, and more.

The right kinds of exercise can also help you improve your physique, making you feel better about yourself.

Rule 4: Stay Away From Excess Stress

Although we live in a fast-paced world, it’s important you properly manage your stress to prevent eventual breakdown.

Excessive stress increases your cortisol levels (which is the stress hormone). This, in turn, impairs your metabolism. You begin to crave junk food, which is bad for you.

Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may lead to severe health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

That’s why it’s very important to always take a break! Remember, if you break down because of stress, you won’t be able to do the things you’re currently killing yourself for.

Rule 5: Get Enough Sleep

Health experts recommend that adults get anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. Sleep is the avenue for your body to rejuvenate itself. Consistent bad sleep will lead to an eventual breakdown of your body.

However, getting enough sleep in today’s world requires conscientious efforts. But here are some tips to help with that:

1) Do not drink coffee late in the day.

2) Have a sleeping routine and stick with it!

3) Sleeping in complete darkness is ideal

4) Do not binge-watch movies late into the night.

Contact us today for more information!

Understanding the difference between a stroke and a heart attack

28096823_MStrokes and heart attacks are similar in that they both occur suddenly, and require prompt medical attention. While they also both involve blood blockage to critical body parts, the critical parts being affected are the main distinguishing factors.

In a stroke, blood flow to the brain is blocked. On the other hand, a heart attack occurs when a blockage in blood flow to the heart occurs.

Understanding their subtle differences helps ensure that the right kind of first aid and treatment is administered, as prompt action might be the difference between life and death. That’s why we’ll explore some of these differences.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is impeded. This disruption of blood flow is usually caused by a blocked artery (usually caused by a blood clot) or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. When any of these occurs, the brain is deprived of oxygen. Consequently, brain cells begin to die.

If left for too long, a stroke can cause lasting brain damage, life-long disability, or even death. According to the CDC, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming about 150,000 lives yearly. That’s why immediate treatment is crucial to give a patient their best chance of full recovery.

Common Symptoms of Stroke

When brain cells are deprived of oxygen, some of the symptoms you might notice include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, leg, or arm, especially on one half of the body
  • Sudden difficulty in speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance and coordination, as well as trouble walking.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

The mnemonic F.A.S.T. can be used to identify and respond to a stroke.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

F – facial dropping

A – Arm weakness

S – speech difficulties

T – Time

What to Do?

If you notice some of the symptoms of stroke, it’s important to act promptly as noted in the last letter of the mnemonic ‘T’. But why is that? Because when a stroke occurs, brain cells start to die. Without prompt medical attention, irreparable brain damage may occur.

That’s why you need to call 911 if you notice someone exhibiting these symptoms. Make sure you take note of the time these symptoms started so you can pass them on to the medical personnel.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is restricted, thereby depriving the heart of the oxygen it needs. This, in turn, damages the heart muscle, which may lead to death if left untreated.

Most cases of heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease. This condition develops when the arteries of the heart cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Over time, the heart muscles over-work to get oxygen, which eventually leads to a damaged or failed heart muscle.

Fat, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells can also build up to form plaques in the arteries. When hard plaques rupture, blood clots form around them, sometimes blocking the artery and starving the heart of oxygen.

According to the CDC, heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 660,000 people yearly.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Surprisingly, strokes and heart attacks have similar symptoms. Here are some of the things to look out for if you suspect a heart attack:

  • Discomfort and pain the chest, arm, or below the breastbone
  • Unexplained pain in the back, jaw, or neck
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Sweating, dizziness, upset stomach, and vomiting
  • Fast or uneven heartbeat

What to Do?

Like a stroke, a heart attack also requires immediate medical attention. If someone has a heart attack, make sure you promptly call 911 or seek medical help. If the patient stops breathing, perform CPR or use a defibrillator if available.

How are Heart Attack and Stroke Diagnosed and Treated?

Doctors first run through your symptoms and medical history.

If you have a stroke, you’ll likely get a CT scan of the brain to show areas of poor blood flow. If the blockage is caused by a clot, the doctor administers a medication called tissue plasminogen activator to break up the clot. If the stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel, surgery is carried out to repair it.

On the other hand, if you have a heart attack, an electrocardiogram is first used to check the health of your heart. Checking for heart attack indicating enzymes can also be used to diagnose a heart attack. Performing cardiac catheterization is also another option.

In some instances, medication and lifestyle changes are all you need to tackle a heart condition. However, other instances require either coronary artery bypass grafting (CAGB) or angioplasty.

Wrap Up

Strokes and heart attacks are both serious medical conditions. Knowing their difference will ensure that the right treatment actions are taken. But most importantly, leading a healthy lifestyle – like exercising, avoiding alcohol and smoking, eating healthy, and more – can help reduce your risk factor for these conditions.

Contact us today for more information.

Hair loss 101

Old woman felt a lot of anxiety about hair loss and itching dandIf you’re like most people, hair loss (also known as alopecia) is a condition you dread. While this condition isn’t a major health concern in many instances, it can affect your mental health and self-esteem, especially if it occurs on your head. And to be clear, hair loss can occur in any part of the body. But why does hair loss occur? How can it be prevented? What treatment options are available? In this article, we provide answers to these questions.

Causes

Hair loss is a normal process. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), most people lose between 50-100 hairs daily. However, new hair grows in to replace them at the same hair follicles. Hair loss becomes a concern when you lose hair at a rate greater than they regrow. This can occur when some follicles stop producing hair, and the hair shafts become finer.

Your risk of experiencing hair loss increases as you age. Little wonder over half of all men over 50 have some degree of hair loss, just as women are more likely to experience hair loss after menopause. However, teenagers can experience hair loss too.

Certain types of hair loss are hereditary. So if you have a family history of baldness, certain sex hormones can trigger hair loss as early as puberty.

Hormonal changes may also lead to temporary hair loss. Examples include childbirth, pregnancy, and stopping the use of birth control pills.

Medical conditions like thyroid disease, ringworm, and alopecia areata can also result in hair loss. Furthermore, medications used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, depression, and cancer can cause hair loss as a side effect.

Diagnosis

If you notice significant hair loss, you should visit your dermatologist. Prolonged hair loss is usually indicative of an underlying health condition.

Your doctor or dermatologist will carry out a physical examination and take a look at your health history to identify potential causes. In some instances, only a simple dietary change will be prescribed.

But if your dermatologist suspects that your hair loss steams from skin or autoimmune disease, a biopsy of the scalp will be tested in the laboratory to confirm.

Treatment Options

Choosing the right treatment is highly dependent on the cause of your hair loss. That’s why proper diagnosis is important. Here are some of the common treatment options for hair loss:

Medication

This is usually the first course of action dermatologists take. Currently, there are two officially approved prescription drugs by the FDA that can be used to treat hair thinning. They include: minoxidil and finasteride.

Minoxidil is effective for treating androgenetic alopecia (also known as male-pattern baldness in men). It is directly applied to the area of thinning hair. It takes between 6 to 12 months for hair condition to improve. Minoxidil has to be applied for life. If not, hair loss will reoccur.

Finasteride, on the other hand, is an oral medication that is used when people find little to no success with minoxidil. Potential side effects include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and growth of breast tissue.

Medical Procedures

When medications do not work, you might have to turn to medical procedures.

Hair transplant surgery

Hair transplant surgery is a common choice among people with inherited baldness. And it involves shifting small plugs of skin with hair to bald areas of the scalp.

Scalp reduction

Scalp reduction is another medical procedure that can help with hair loss. It involves removing part of your scalp that lacks hair and then closing it off with areas of your scalp that have hair.

Hair rejuvenation

Proactive Wellness offers a robust hair rejuvenation procedure that utilizes the combination of Platelet Rich Plasma, the New Life Regenerative (NLR) Restor and RExO products, Mircroneedling, and Cord Blood IV. Clinical studies so far have shown that applying these biologics is effective for hair restoration.

Home remedies

Several people try a whole range of home remedies to combat hair loss. However, most are not backed by science, neither are they approved by the FDA. But here are some suggestions that might help.

Eating hair-healthy foods

Protein, certain fats, vitamins, and minerals are important for healthy hair growth. For instance, eggs can help boost protein and vitamin B levels with may boost hair growth. Fatty fish and walnuts are rich in omega-3, which may also improve hair growth. Brazil nuts contain selenium, an important mineral for maintaining healthy hair. Since hair loss can also be caused by a vitamin D deficiency, eating foods like beef liver, cheese, and mushrooms that are rich in vitamin D can help restore hair growth.

Essential oils

Applying essential oil may also help with hair loss. Some of the oils aromatherapy practitioners suggest may boost hair growth include rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, thyme oil, and tulsi oil.

Prevention

Here are some tips that can help you prevent hair loss:

  • Do not wear tight hairstyles like ponytails, buns, or braids as they put too much pressure on your hair, which can permanently damage hair follicles over time.
  • Use gentle baby shampoo to wash if you have delicate hair.
  • Avoid styling products like hairdryers, coloring products, hair straighteners, bleaching agents, and relaxers.
  • Eat hair-healthy foods like those identified in the previous section.

Contact us here today for more information.

The supplements you should add to your daily routine

We’ve said it before: everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another. This applies to fitness, diet and other health and wellness topics. Heap of various pills on color backgroundThe same goes for supplements.

A glance down the array of pill bottles in the wellness aisle at the grocery store likely leaves you wondering what you should take and how it’ll make you feel. We recommend speaking to a functional medicine doctor about what specific supplements you’d benefit most from. In the meantime, what follows is a list of nutrients most everyone will benefit from, plus naturally occurring sources of each.

Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower our risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and some types of cancer. These types of fatty acids also have a positive effect on our brain. Especially as we age, our memory and cognition could use a boost and this supplement can help with that.
Where to find it: salmon, chia seeds, walnuts

Probiotics
Did you that 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut? When we don’t treat our gut with respect, it can lash out by showering us with other issues like anxiety and autoimmune disorders. Probiotics can balance the bacteria in your digestive tract, which helps to heal everything else alongside it.
Where to find it: yogurt, pickles and other fermented foods, sourdough bread

Magnesium
Fun fact: Magnesium does not naturally occur in our bodies so it’s considered an essential nutrient, or one that must be obtained through our diet and/or supplements. Magnesium helps with blood sugar levels, muscle and nerve function and, bonus, reduces stress.
Where to find it: nuts, legumes, brown rice

Vitamin D
The fascinating thing about our body is that we make our own vitamin D when we expose ourselves to the sunlight. Although you could think you have enough sun exposure to produce the vitamin D your body needs to reap the benefits (bone health and cancer prevention, among others), studies show that at least one billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency.
Where to find it: shrimp, mushrooms, canned tuna

These are just some of the nutrients you’ll want to make sure to get into your daily diet in some way. Your functional medicine doctor may then recommend others. If you treat your body right, it’ll do the same to you in return.

Health risks of poor nutrition

Cheerful senior having an appleNever in the history of mankind have we had easy access to a variety of foods like we do today. Yet this luxury that our ancestors could only dream of has become our undoing. In recent times, lots of people have developed poor eating habits.

For instance, CDC reports that over a third of Americans eat fast food daily. Fast food is high in saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, trans fat, and as such, it shouldn’t be eaten often. Most people know that, yet they pump their systems with these unhealthy foods. In the article, we explore some of the health risks of poor nutrition.

  • Obesity

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, over 73% of American adults are either overweight or obese. 42.2% have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above (obese), while 9.2% have a BMI greater than 40 (severe obesity).

Obesity occurs when you consume too many calories, particularly fat and sugars, without burning it off. Unfortunately, much of the food we consume is loaded with calories. The surplus energy gets stored in the body as fat.

Asides from the societal stigma and negative psychological impact of obesity, obesity also increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

  • Hypertension

Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. Foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fats can increase blood pressure or damage the heart. Common high blood pressure diet includes snack foods, condiments, deli meats, canned soups, and processed foods.

Hypertension is a silent killer as it typically goes unnoticed till the damage has been done. A diet full of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains can help lower your risk of high blood pressure.

Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, claiming 660,00 lives yearly. Unfortunately, poor nutrition is the greatest factor causing the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. Unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as poor diet, being overweight, lack of exercise, and smoking can lead to heart disease.

That’s why doctors recommend that you avoid high-fat diets, particularly foods with large amounts of saturated fat. Common examples include eggs, ice cream, beef, and butter. Instead, choose lean protein like turkey, fish, and seafood.

  • Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas can no longer produce insulin or when the body can no longer process the insulin produced by the body. Insulin is very important because it helps break down carbohydrates into glucose, which is the body’s primary source of energy.

In a diabetic patient, the blood glucose (also called blood sugar) isn’t regulated. Although several factors can cause diabetes including family history and genetics, poor nutrition is also a major factor for some people. Foods like sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fats, fruit-flavored yogurt, dried fruit, among many others increase the risk of diabetes.

Diabetes-related complications include damage to large and small blood vessels, which can lead to stroke and heart attack, as well as problems with the kidneys, eyes, feet, and nerves.

  • Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream. Consequently, this uric acid buildup results in the formation of crystals in your joint, which can result in painful swelling, resulting in permanent joint damage.

Food and drinks that often trigger gout attacks include game meats, organ meats, sugary sodas, fruit juice, and alcohol. That’s why you should stay away from a diet high in fat or cholesterol. On the other hand, vegetables, soy products, low-fat dairy products can reduce the risk of gout attacks by lowering uric acid levels.

  • Some Cancers

While the link between diet and cancer is just as mysterious as the disease itself, the relationship cannot be ignored. Research has pointed toward certain foods and nutrients that seem to increases one’s risk of cancer.

Examples of foods that have carcinogenic properties include processed meats like hotdogs, corned beef, sausages, beef jerky, and lunch meat. Unfortunately, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US.

Health experts advise that you avoid processed and red meats. Antioxidants, as well as foods high in calcium, can lower the risk of cancer.

  • Malnutrition

Perhaps the greatest irony about our modern culture is the fact that a person can overeat and still be malnourished. Malnutrition occurs when there are excesses or imbalances in your intake of energy or nutrients.

Depending on the nutrients you’re lacking, several symptoms may arise. For instance, iron deficiency may cause dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Lack of vitamin can result in vitamin deficiency anemia.

The solution is to conscientiously ensure that the food you consume is rich in all the classes of nutrients required by the body.

Wrap Up

The body requires proper nutrients for it to function effectively. Unfortunately, we’ve incorporated unhealthy eating habits into our modern lifestyle, which we pay for with our health. American poor diet drives $50 billion a year in health care costs. This doesn’t even account for the emotional turmoil faced by the person and their family. Eating the proper diet will result in better health and overall well-being.

Contact us today for more information.

Fruits and their surprising benefits

We all know that fruit is a major food group that we can’t afford to ignore. Fruit provides us with essential vitamins and minerals, plus fiber. In fact, fruit actually provides those nutrients that tend to be underconsumed, such as potassium and folic acid. 42270308 - man at fruit counter in supermarket

Overall, consuming fruit can help you lose weight. Not only does fruit hold a low-calorie count, but the sugars found in fruit are all-natural. They make a great alternative to any sugary sweets you may normally have a hankering for as an after-dinner treat.

Fruits are also nature’s natural cleansers. They give you energy and provide you with plenty of antioxidants. If you are able to incorporate 2-3 servings into your daily diet, you’ll really see the results.

Each individual fruit comes with its own benefit, too.

What’s the one fruit you see most people consuming in the morning? Bananas! They are quick-and-easy for when you’re rushing out the door on your way to work, and bananas also supply you with plenty of energy. If you’re looking to build up a resistance against infections, turn to another favorite, apples. Apples are high in antioxidants. Also, the fibrous nature of apples can help clean your teeth.

Pineapples can help reduce joint swelling caused by arthritis because it contains bromelain, an enzyme with high anti-inflammatory benefits. If you want to increase bone mass, consume kiwi, which is chock-full of vitamin K, a nutrient known to help your body absorb (and hold onto!) calcium.

Even though it’s mostly water, watermelon promotes heart health due to the high lycopene levels found in this fruit. Blueberries also protect your heart.

The antioxidant properties of strawberries and mangos have shown to help your body fight against certain cancers. If you want to feel less stressed, cherries help calm your nervous system.

For healthy skin, choose avocados and oranges. Bonus: oranges also help with vision.

We hope these useful facts about their benefits encourage you to incorporate a variety of fresh fruit into your diet. Fix yourself a fresh fruit salad and get the most out of their healthy perks.

5 Evidence-based ways to improve your memory

83991716_MWhile we all get forgetful from time to time, having a poor memory is frustrating. You meet someone new, and you forget their name within minutes of knowing them telling you. Or you sit down for an exam only to have difficulty recalling what you learned.

Wouldn’t it be super awesome if there was a pill you could pop to improve your memory vastly? Unfortunately, no such pill exists. And those that claim to have that capability are backed with little science.

But thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your memory. Many of which are even backed by science. In this post, we explore some of these ways.

  • Get Enough Sleep

The role of sleep in memory consolidation is very important. Sleep helps to store short-term information in long-term memory. While the exact mechanism through which this occurs is not fully understood, the relationship between sleep and memory is well established.

In a memory study involving 40 children aged 10 to 14, one group was trained for memory tests in the evening while tested the next day after a good night’s rest. The other group was trained and tested on the same day. After controlling for other factors, it was found that those in the first group performed 20% better than those in the second group. This is also the same reason why those that work night shifts are more prone to error than day shift workers.

Medical experts recommend you have between seven to nine hours of sleep every day. Taking power naps (which lasts between 20 to 20 minutes) in between your day allows for the recovery of brain function and memory consolidation.

  • Practice Mindful Meditation

Working memory is what makes it easy for you to store information temporarily throughout your day. Most of this information is forgotten as soon as you’re done with them. Useful information, on the other hand, is committed to long-term memory.

Research has shown that mindful meditation is a great way to improve memory by increasing gray matter in the brain. As you age, your gray matter declines, and that reduces your cognitive ability. That’s why older people are more susceptible to memory loss.

Thankfully, meditation can help improve short-term memory, as well as memory recall. In one study involving Taiwanese college students, those who engaged in mindful meditation had better spatial working memory than students who did not meditate.

  • Physical and Mental Exercise

Exercise is important for maintaining physical and mental well-being. Exercising regularly boosts blood circulation in your body, improves your immune system, and makes you stronger. Physical exercise is also known to improve memory. In a recent study, moderate exercise on a stationary bike improved cognitive performance in 144 people aged between 19 to 93. Exercise also lowers your risk of having dementia later in life.

Just as it’s important to exercise your muscles, it’s also crucial to train your brain. Brain games, for instance, are a fun and effective way to improve your memory. Examples of such games include crosswords, Tetris, and word-recall games. A recent study showed that doing 15 minutes of online braining training more than four times a week can improve short-term memory, concentration, and working memory. It can even significantly improve your problem-solving skills.

  • Eat Healthy Foods

You’ve probably heard a million times that you are what you eat. This saying is true, especially when it comes to your cognitive abilities. Certain foods have been shown to affect memory negatively. Reduce their intake. Some examples of these foods include added sugar, refined carbs, and even alcohol. Do not binge drink!

On the other hand, certain foods are known to boost memory – embrace them! Fish oil supplement, for instance, contains omega-3 fatty acids that slower mental decline. Choose anti-inflammatory foods as they help to reduce oxidative stress, thereby improving your memory. Examples of such foods include fruits, vegetables, teas, and berries. Curcumin is also a potent antioxidant found in high concentrations in turmeric root. It can help boost memory and prevent cognitive decline.

  • Lead a Vibrant Social Life

We are a social species, and as such, we need to interact with others to ensure our emotional and mental health actively. Having a strong support system can be invaluable, especially when experiencing difficulties like depression and stress.

A 2007 study discovered that people with active social lives tend to have the slowest memory decline. Just a 10-minute interaction with another person was also shown to improve memory.

An active social life means that you’re constantly training your brain to process and recall information, as well as articulating your ideas – all of which improves cognition.

We understand that dealing with memory loss or memory, in general, can be a daunting subject to undertake. We are here to help guide you through the labyrinth of questions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here today for more information.

The benefits of functional medicine

Doctor checking patients joint flexibility with gonimeterIn certain circles, there remains a tenuous understanding of what functional medicine actually is. While functional medicine is quickly becoming part of the mainstream medical scene, many people are still quite unaware of its benefits, with some people still considering functional medicine to be a “new age” or “hippie-style” method that flies in the face of modern science.

Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Let’s address a few misconceptions.

Functional Medicine Is Only An Alternative: The term “alternative medicine” is generally burdened by ingrained preconceived notions of yogi poses and strange herbal concoctions, which, while they may fall under the genre of alternative medicine, do not comprise alternative medicine.

In fact, these days, many functional medicine providers are also credentialed, trained and experienced medical doctors. Functional medicine is designed to look at the body and illness as a whole, and not relying only on treating the symptoms. In this way, it is a positive complement to traditional Western medicine.

Science Does Not Back Functional Medicine: Our bodies have a remarkable ability to heal themselves, which has been proven time and time again in countless research papers and scholarly articles. This is something you can see with your own eyes.

Functional medicine works in harmony with your body’s natural disease-fighting abilities and is both rooted in scientific principles and utilizes some of the same advanced diagnostic tests that conventional doctors use. One of the general themes that have become popular in mainstream awareness includes diet and gut-health. Encouraging good gut-health is becoming an idea that all holistic and traditional approaches are identifying as an important element in overall health for any individual and chronic health issue.

The fact is, you can absolutely trust a credible practitioner of functional medicine to work with you and your current medical doctor rather than against you and your doctor.

By addressing your body’s needs from a holistic approach, assessing your bodies systems as interconnected and not independent, functional medicine acts as an effective complement to traditional Western approaches.

Best types of exercises for improved health and weight loss

Mature woman doing yoga exercise at homeNo one questions the efficacy of exercises to boost physical and mental well-being. However, what remains a real challenge for many people is developing an exercise routine they’ll stick with! This occurs mainly because most people do not have the patience to continue till they start noticing the results they want – whether that’s losing weight, improving sleep, or easing stress. But at its core, it’s because, to them, exercising is simply another chore. And as expected, we love to evade chores if we can get away with them.

That’s why the key to a successful workout routine is to make it fun. This can be achieved by having a more robust exercise plan that includes a mix of aerobic training, strength training, flexibility exercise, and balance exercise. This spiced-up plan will also enable you to attain the results you want more efficiently.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises are activities that work your cardiovascular system. They get your heart rate up, making your blood pump faster. Aerobic exercise is commonly referred to as cardio. Common examples of aerobic exercises include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Jogging or running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Playing sports like soccer or basketball.

Health benefits of cardio

  • Cardio improves the overall health of your circulatory system. It also strengthens your heart to pump blood more efficiently.
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack, and hypertension
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves blood-fat levels
  • Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of 13 types of cancers.

How much cardio do you need?

According to a guideline from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), adults should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities like brisk walking per week. For best results, experts recommend that the time be broken down to 30 minutes per day for five days every week.

Strength Training

Strength exercises are aimed at making your muscles work harder than usual. This invariably helps to improve muscle strength, power, size, and endurance. Such activities involve working your muscles against resistance.

Common examples include:

  • Weight lifting
  • Crunches
  • Push-ups
  • Climbing stairs
  • Hillwalking
  • Squats
  • Heavy gardening, such as digging and shoveling

Health benefits of strength training

  • Increase lean muscle mass
  • Helps in weight loss because lean muscles burn more calories.
  • Helps to increase flexibility and balance, thereby reducing the risks of falls and injuries in older people
  • Increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures

How much strength training do you need?

Aim for two to three days per week of strength training. You should try to incorporate full-body workouts that focus on compound exercises like squats with a shoulder press, as well as pushups and plank with a one-arm row.

Flexibility Exercise

Flexibility exercises are activities that stretch your muscles and can help your body stay flexible. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement in your day-to-day life, as well as for other exercise routines.

There are primarily two types of flexibility exercises: static stretching and dynamic stretching. In static stretching, you stretch your muscles without moving. Examples include:

  • Shoulder stretch
  • Side bends
  • Hamstring stretch

Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, combines stretching with movements. Common examples include:

  • High steps
  • Ankle stretch
  • Arm swings
  • Arm circles

Benefits of Flexibility Training

  • Improves flexibility, which can be important for everyday life.
  • Reduces your risk of injuries
  • Reduces lactic acid in the muscles.

How much flexibility exercise do you need?

Stretching should be included before and after your normal workout routine. Experts recommend that you do dynamic stretching as part of your warm-up before a workout. You should then do a static stretch at the end of your routine. According to the National Institutes of Health, you should hold each static stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds.

Balance Exercise

Balance exercises are activities that improve your ability to control and stabilize your body position. They help strengthen the muscles that keep you upright, including your legs and cores.

Common examples include:

  • Standing on one foot
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Walking heel to toe
  • Using a balance board or stability ball

Benefits of Balance Exercises

  • Lowers your risks of knee and ankle injuries
  • Lowers your risk of falls
  • Improves overall body coordination
  • Improves your reaction time
  • Better proprioception as you’re more aware of how your limbs are oriented in space.

How much balance exercise do you need?

Balance exercises should be added to your routine, and there’s no limit to how often you can do them. But to improve your balance, doing three to six balance training sessions per week for 11 to 12 weeks should be sufficient. Four exercises per session should be okay.

Wrap Up

While the importance of exercises cannot be overemphasized, the key to an effective and fun fitness plan is to incorporate the four main types of exercises.

Please reach out to us here if you have any other questions or concerns.